Among current MLB players, there may be no more polarizing figure than Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. Some think he brings fun and enthusiasm to baseball, while others feel that he disrespects the game — especially when arguably overreacting to a play that doesn’t warrant such a gesture.

We saw another example of that during Game 1 of the National League championship series between the Dodgers and Chicago Cubs Saturday night. With the score tied at 2-2 in the fifth inning, Puig crushed a double into the left-center gap with the ball landing at the base of the wall.

But the Dodgers star irritated some observers by flipping his bat after the hit, a punctuation typically reserved for a home run. (And even with a home run, many don’t like the bat flip, believing that it shows up the pitcher and is a grandstanding gesture that doesn’t have a place in the pastoral national pastime. Never mind that bat flips are commonplace among Latin and Asian players when playing in their native countries.)

Puig’s double was a big hit, driving in Logan Forsythe to break the 2-2 tie and put the Dodgers ahead for good. But the bat flip, holding up his arms and admiring the hit, and exhorting the crowd after stopping at second base was just too demonstrative for some fans. (OK, maybe the crotch chops were a bit much.)

One observer who was irritated by Puig’s display was former ESPN anchor and commentator Keith Olbermann.

Puig went on to add a home run in the seventh inning, increasing the Dodgers’ lead to 4-2. As Olbermann later admitted, he would’ve been fine with a bat flip there. Just limit those demonstrations to home runs, he said.

Still, Olbermann came off rather curmudgeonly, shaking his fist at a player for daring to show some enthusiasm on the field. Sure, Puig’s act can wear thin — and has with teammates and coaches. But when the guy gets a big hit in a postseason game, let him acknowledge the moment and his contribution to it.

Puig found out about Olbermann’s gripe after the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory and couldn’t resist needling the broadcaster.

OK, that was a good-natured elbow in the ribs from Puig, but wasn’t mean-spirited. So it would’ve been a bad look for Olbermann to respond angrily. Fortunately, he was a good sport about Puig poking back at him.

An apology from Keith Olbermann! Puig has a disarming, diplomatic touch that wears everyone down. Maybe a #PuigYouSecretaryOfState should become a trending hashtag.

How often Olbermann or others on Twitter have the opportunity to use the #OlbermannYouFriend hashtag is something that will certainly be worth monitoring. But with that, there was some peace. At least for 24 hours or so. This could be revisited a few times during the Dodgers’ postseason run.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is an editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has covered baseball for Yahoo! Sports, MLive.com, Bleacher Report and SB Nation, and provides analysis for several sports talk radio shows each week. He currently lives in Asheville, NC.

  • sarah413

    Keith Olbermann takes himself Waaaaay too seriously. All one has to do is read his posts on Twitter to know that he’s completely lost the plot.

    • Jim Dandy

      I think some people take Keith way too seriously, but I don’t sense that he does himself. I always read and hear a wink and a nod in everything he says.